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FEMA Mitigation Advisers Offer Guidance to Flood Survivors in Charleston County

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 16:10

COLUMBIA, S.C. – As South Carolinians rebuild and repair after the recent historic floods, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local home improvement stores have teamed up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer.

FEMA mitigation specialists will be on hand in Charleston County to answer questions and offer home improvement tips to prevent and lessen damage from future disasters. Most of the information is geared towards do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Mitigation Advisers Offer Guidance to Flood Survivors in Florence and Horry Counties

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 16:06

COLUMBIA, S.C. – As South Carolinians rebuild and repair after the recent historic floods, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local home improvement stores have teamed up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer.

FEMA mitigation specialists will be on hand in Florence and Horry counties to answer questions and offer home improvement tips to prevent and lessen damage from future disasters. Most of the information is geared towards do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Mitigation Advisers Offer Guidance to Flood Survivors in Lexington and Richland Counties

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 16:03

COLUMBIA, S.C. – As South Carolinians rebuild and repair after the recent historic floods, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local home improvement stores have teamed up to provide free information, tips and literature on making homes stronger and safer.

FEMA mitigation specialists will be on hand in Lexington and Richland counties to answer questions and offer home improvement tips to prevent and lessen damage from future disasters. Most of the information is geared towards do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

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Categories: Federal News

Removing Nitrogen from Groundwater Has New Ally: Anammox

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 13:40
Summary: USGS scientists have conducted the first-ever field measurements of anammox activity in groundwater, demonstrating that nitrogen removal from groundwater can occur through the action of naturally occurring bacteria

Contact Information:

Richard Smith ( Phone: 303-541-3032 ); Jon Campbell ( Phone: 703-648-4180 );



An aerial view looking southeast of the treated-wastewater infiltration beds at Joint Base Cape Cod. The wastewater disposal beds (source of the nitrogen contamination) appear in the foreground. In the background is a freshwater pond that is receiving discharge of some of the groundwater contaminants. Toxic waste disposal at the site ended in 1995. (High resolution image)

USGS scientists have conducted the first-ever field measurements of anammox activity in groundwater, demonstrating that nitrogen removal from groundwater can occur through the action of naturally occurring bacteria. This research was conducted in collaboration with partners from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the University of Connecticut.

Anammox, shorthand for anaerobic ammonium oxidation, is a process carried out by naturally occurring bacteria that can simultaneously remove ammonium and reduce nitrogen oxides (such as nitrate and nitrite), combining the two to produce harmless nitrogen gas.

Over the past 100 years, humans have drastically altered the global nitrogen budget by fixing nitrogen gas from air to produce fertilizer in the form of ammonium and nitrate.  Nitrate and ammonium are now prevalent fixed nitrogen contaminants that may be found in surface water and groundwater worldwide. Until fixed nitrogen is converted back to nitrogen gas, it remains as a potential water contaminant.  Anammox and denitrification are the only two processes that can remove excess fixed nitrogen by chemically changing it back to nitrogen gas.

“Virtually all terrestrial and aquatic environments now contain extra fixed nitrogen from human activities, including groundwater, the planet’s primary freshwater resource,” said Richard Smith, a USGS research hydrologist and lead author of the investigation.

Discovered just 20 years ago in wastewater treatment systems, anammox has been studied since then in laboratory settings using enrichment cultures.  Relatively recently, anammox was found to be ecologically important in marine and other surface water environments.

“Because anammox is a process that can supply its own organic carbon by fixing carbon dioxide,” Smith continued, “naturally occurring anammox bacteria are ideally suited for life in groundwater, where they could potentially be important for fixed nitrogen removal.  While practical applications are still in the distant future, this process could be particularly important where groundwater is discharging to surface waters and coastal environments.” 

Working at a carefully monitored USGS groundwater study site at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the research team found that anammox was active in the subsurface in a variety of geochemical conditions, even where groundwater ammonium concentrations were low.  The rates of activity were relatively low, but anammox could potentially affect inorganic nitrogen concentrations in situations where groundwater residence times are sufficiently long.

The detailed findings of the investigation were recently published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.  

The paper documents the competition between anammox and denitrification for nitrogen oxides and explores the effect of altered organic carbon concentrations on that competition. The results of this study indicate that anammox does occur in groundwater, that it can be an important mechanism for fixed nitrogen removal, and that it should be included when interpreting subsurface geochemistry and constructing groundwater nitrogen budgets. 

Co-authors on the study include USGS scientist J.K. Böhlke; Bongkeun Song from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science; and Craig Tobias from the University of Connecticut, Department of Marine Science. The National Science Foundation provided additional research support.

Learn more

Research article, Environmental Science and Technology
USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
USGS Cape Cod Toxic Substances Hydrology Research Site
USGS National Research Program

Lewes Public Boat Ramp parking lot to partially close for pavement restriping Nov 11 and 12

DNREC News - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 12:53
LEWES (Nov. 5, 2015) – The parking lot at the Lewes Boat Ramp in Lewes will be partially and intermittently closed Wednesday, Nov. 11 and Thursday, Nov. 12 to allow contractors to re-stripe the parking lot, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today.

Public Invited to Comment on Flood Maps for City of Llano and Llano County in Texas

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 12:03

DENTON, Texas – After working together for months to create new preliminary flood maps, officials from the city of Llano and Llano County, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) now want to hear from the public.

Homeowners, renters and business owners in these three counties are encouraged to review the preliminary flood maps to understand where flood risks have been identified. Anyone who has comments or who would like to file an appeal has until Jan. 25, 2016, to submit them.

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Categories: Federal News

Completing SBA Loan Application May Mean More Assistance for Some

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 18:37

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina storm and flood survivors are reminded to complete loan applications from the U.S. Small Business Administration even if they do not plan to accept a loan.

Survivors who receive notice to apply to the SBA are encouraged to complete the application as it may make them eligible for other assistance. Survivors should apply to SBA before insurance is settled.

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Categories: Federal News

Two New Castle County men arrested for spotlighting multiple hunting related violations

DNREC News - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 16:19
NEWARK (Nov. 3, 2015) – After investigating a report of multiple persons spotlighting deer from a boat at night on the Christina River near Churchman’s Marsh Pond near Newark, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested two Newark men Oct. 30 on multiple hunting-related violations.

No flood insurance? Now is the time to buy

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 15:34

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – It is time to buy flood insurance, if you don’t already have it. Available to everyone, businesses, homeowners and renters alike, it is the only insurance that will help you recover from flooding and mudflows.

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Categories: Federal News

DNREC releases 2015 Delaware Wetland Management Plan

DNREC News - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 14:02
DOVER (Nov. 4, 2015) – Delaware’s wetlands continue to face threats such as pollution, sea level rise and changing climates and landscapes. To address these challenges and help protect the valuable natural resources and the many health and safety benefits that wetlands provide, DNREC and the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s (DDA) Forest Service have developed the 2015 Delaware Wetland Management Plan.

DNREC’s next scrap tire recycling drop-off set for Saturday, Nov. 7 at Delaware State Fairgrounds

DNREC News - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:59
DOVER (Nov. 4, 2015) – DNREC is again inviting Delaware residents to recycle their old and disused car tires through another of the Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances’ Scrap Tire Drop-Off Days. The event, scheduled from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., rain or shine, on Saturday, Nov. 7 will take place at the Delaware State Fairgrounds, 18500 South DuPont Highway, Harrington, DE 19952.

Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Johns Island to Help South Carolina Flood Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:58

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A disaster recovery center is open in Johns Island to help South Carolina flood survivors. This Charleston County center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday until further notice.

The disaster recovery center is located at:
Berkeley Electric Cooperative
3351 Maybank Highway, Johns Island

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Categories: Federal News

2015 Coastal Cleanup drew nearly 1500 volunteers who collected almost 8 tons of trash and recyclables from 50 sites

DNREC News - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 11:30
DOVER (Nov. 3, 2015) – This year’s DNREC-sponsored 29th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup held on Sept. 19 drew 1,492 volunteers, who collected 7.8 tons of trash from 50 sites along more than 80 miles of Delaware’s waterways and coastline stretching from Wilmington to Fenwick Island. About one-quarter of that trash – aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles – was recycled this year.

Native Bees Foraging in Fields Are Exposed to Neonicotinoid Insecticides and other Pesticides

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 11:30
Summary: According to the first-ever study of pesticide residues on field-caught bees, native bees are exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides and other pesticides

Contact Information:

Michelle  Hladik ( Phone: 916-278-3183 ); Mike Focazio ( Phone: 703-648-6808 ); Alex Demas ( Phone: 703-648-4421 );



According to the first-ever study of pesticide residues on field-caught bees, native bees are exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides and other pesticides. This report was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

This research focused on native bees, because there is limited information on their exposure to pesticides. In fact, little is known about how toxic these pesticides are to native bee species at the levels detected in the environment. This study did not look at pesticide exposure to honey bees. 

“We found that the presence and proximity of nearby agricultural fields was an important factor resulting in the exposure of native bees to pesticides,” said USGS scientist Michelle Hladik, the report’s lead author. “Pesticides were detected in the bees caught in grasslands with no known direct pesticide applications.”  

Although conservation efforts have been shown by other investigators to benefit pollinators, this study raises questions about the potential for unintended pesticide exposures where various land uses overlap or are in proximity to one another. 

The research consisted of collecting native bees from cultivated agricultural fields and grasslands in northeastern Colorado, then processing the composite bee samples to test for 122 different pesticides, as well as 14 chemicals formed by the breakdown of pesticides. Scientists tested for the presence of pesticides both in and on the bees. 

The most common pesticide detected was the neonicotinoid insecticide thiamethoxam, which was found in 46 percent of the composite bee samples. Thiamethoxam is used as a seed coating on a variety of different crops. Pesticides were not found in all bee samples, with 15 of the 54 total samples testing negative for the 122 chemicals examined.  

Although this study did not investigate the effects of pesticide exposures to native bees, previous toxicological studies have shown that the chemicals do not have to kill the bees to have an adverse effect at the levels of exposure documented here. For example, neonicotinoids can cause a reduction in population densities and reproductive success, and impair the bees’ ability to forage.  Follow-up research is now being designed to further investigate adverse effects at these exposure levels. 

There are about 4,000 native species of bees in the United States. They pollinate native plants like cherries, blueberries and cranberries, and were here long before European honeybees were brought to the country by settlers.  In addition, many native bees are quite efficient crop pollinators, a role that may become more crucially important if honey bees continue to decline.  

This paper is a preliminary, field-based reconnaissance study that provides critical information necessary to design more focused research on exposure, uptake and accumulation of pesticides relative to land-use, agricultural practices and pollinator conservation efforts on the landscape. Another USGS study published in August discovered neonicotinoids in in a little more than half of both urban and agricultural streams sampled across the United States and Puerto Rico. 

“This foundational study is needed to prioritize and design new environmental exposure experiments on the potential for adverse impacts to terrestrial organisms,” said Mike Focazio, program coordinator for the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program. “This and other USGS research is helping support the overall goals of the White House Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators by helping us understand whether these pesticides, particularly at low levels, pose a risk for pollinators.”

More information can be found on this paper here. USGS research on the occurrence, transport and fate of pesticides can be found with the USGS Toxic Substance Hydrology Program webpage or the USGS Pesticide Fate Research project in California. Stay up to date with USGS Environmental Health science by signing up for our GeoHealth Newsletter.

Acid Rain Effects on Forest Soils begin to Reverse

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 10:00
Summary: Soil acidification from acid rain that is harmful to plant and aquatic life has now begun to reverse in forests of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, according to an American-Canadian collaboration of five institutions led by the U.S. Geological Survey

Contact Information:

Gregory Lawrence ( Phone: 518-421-4738 ); Alex Demas ( Phone: 703-648-4421 );



Soil acidification from acid rain that is harmful to plant and aquatic life has now begun to reverse in forests of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, according to an American-Canadian collaboration of five institutions led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The new research shows that these changes are strongly linked to acid rain decreases, although some results differ from expected responses.  

"Reduced acid rain levels resulting from American and Canadian air-pollution control measures have begun to reverse soil acidification across this broad region," said Gregory Lawrence, a USGS soil and water chemist and lead author.  "Prior to this study, published research on soils indicated that soil acidification was worsening in most areas despite several decades of declining acid rain.  However, those studies relied on data that only extended up to 2004, whereas the data in this study extended up to 2014. "

As acid rain acidifies soils, it depletes soil calcium reserves, which are important in preventing the formation of aluminum that is toxic to plants and aquatic life.  Calcium is also a nutrient essential for healthy ecosystems.   Results of this study show that soils are no longer being depleted of calcium and that toxic aluminum levels have substantially decreased. 

The uppermost soil layers have shown a strong recovery response, but deeper layers are actually increasing in aluminum, which suggests further acidification.  However, this may be part of the recovery process as aluminum moves downward in the soil to be stored in a non-toxic form.

"The start of widespread soil recovery is a key step to remedy the long legacy of acid rain impacts on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems," according to Lawrence.

The results were obtained by resampling soils that had been originally sampled eight to 24 years earlier.  The collaboration among the USGS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, University of Maine, Canadian Forest Service and the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, was developed through the Northeast Soil Monitoring Cooperative, a group of scientists focused on how soils are responding to our rapidly changing environment.  

The study is available online. Lawrence, G. B., P. W. Hazlett, I. J. Fernandez, R. Ouimet, S. W. Bailey, W. C. Shortle, K. T. Smith, and M. R. Antidormi. 2015. Declining Acidic Deposition Begins Reversal of Forest-Soil Acidification in the Northeastern U.S. and Eastern Canada. Environmental Science & Technology.

Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Newberry to Help South Carolina Flood Survivors

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 11/03/2015 - 18:59

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A disaster recovery center is open in Newberry to help South Carolina flood survivors. This Newberry County center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

The disaster recovery center is located at the following address:
Newberry County Sheriff’s Emergency Services Building
540 Wilson Road, Newberry.

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Categories: Federal News

Garrisons Lake north parking lot and footbridge reopened

DNREC News - Tue, 11/03/2015 - 17:27
DOVER (Nov. 3, 2015) – The north parking lot and fishing footbridge at Garrisons Lake near Smyrna have reopened, with dam repairs completed and full access restored, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today. Access to the south parking lot and boat ramp at Garrisons Lake was unaffected.

Rebuild with floods and fires in mind

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 11/03/2015 - 16:01

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Categories: Federal News

New Tool Rates Stream Vulnerability to Unconventional Oil and Gas Development

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 11/03/2015 - 13:00
Summary: On average, streams in the Niobrara-Mowry Play of eastern Wyoming, Fayetteville Play of Arkansas, and Barnett Play of Texas ranked most vulnerable to unconventional oil and gas development, but for different reasons, according to recent U.S. Geological Survey coauthored research Study Looks at Natural and Man-Made Factors

Contact Information:

Kelly Maloney ( Phone: 570-724-3322x239 ); Sally Entrekin ( Phone: 501-269-2108 ); Alex Demas ( Phone: 703-648-4421 );



On average, streams in the Niobrara-Mowry Play of eastern Wyoming, Fayetteville Play of Arkansas, and Barnett Play of Texas ranked most vulnerable to unconventional oil and gas development, but for different reasons, according to recent U.S. Geological Survey coauthored research.

Streams in the Fayetteville and Barnett were vulnerable mostly from existing man-made stressors, whereas streams in the Niobara-Mowry were vulnerable largely due to a stream's natural sensitivity to alterations. However, the study also shows that streams in all regions have the potential to be impacted by such development.

A team of academic, USGS, and private-sector researchers computed potential stream vulnerability to unconventional oil and gas development in six shale plays, including the Bakken, Barnett, Fayetteville, Hilliard-Baxter-Mancos, Marcellus and Utica, and Niobrara-Mowry.  The newly developed vulnerability index shows that streams with the highest sensitivity and exposure to stressors may be most vulnerable to unconventional oil and gas development.

"Stream ecosystems show variation in potential vulnerability to unconventional oil and gas development across the contiguous United States," said Kelly Maloney, USGS research ecologist and coauthor of the study. "The index we developed incorporated a stream ecosystem's natural sensitivity to alterations and its exposure to man-made stressors, such as well pads, urbanization and agriculture."

What made areas potentially vulnerable varied across plays due to climatic, geologic and human caused differences. Low annual precipitation in the drier regions of the western US (Niobrara-Mowry, Hilliard-Baxter-Mancos, and Bakken) affected stream vulnerability to unconventional oil and gas development. In contrast, the steeper slopes in the watersheds of Appalachia made streams in the Marcellus-Utica play naturally sensitive.  The Barnett and Marcellus regions had areas with greater urbanization than other plays.

"The indices developed in this paper can be used to identify streams where aquatic life are particularly vulnerable, and then help prioritize stream protection and monitoring efforts," said Maloney.  "These findings can also be used to guide local development activities to help reduce potential environmental effects."

Research partners in this study included the University of Central Arkansas, Waterborne Environmental Inc., University of Arkansas and Wilkes University.

The paper "Stream vulnerability to widespread and emergent stressors: a focus on unconventional oil and gas" is available in PLOS ONE, which is an open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal and can be downloaded free of charge online.

Pine Ridge Disaster Recovery Center to Close

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 11/02/2015 - 20:18

PINE RIDGE, S.D. – The last Pine Ridge Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), located at the SuAnne Big Crow Center, is closing permanently at 5 p.m., MST, on Friday, November 6, 2015.

Oglala Sioux Tribal and federal officials have been paying close attention to how many applicants have been visiting the center. Over the past weeks, the number of individuals seeking help at the Pine Ridge Disaster Recovery Center has dropped, indicating that the information needs of survivors in the area who suffered damages during the May 8-29th event have mostly been met. 

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Categories: Federal News